Friday, October 25, 2013

Cannot get mail connection to server is unavailable error on iOS device

The typical answers to this would be verify your username/password/server address, and make sure you have an active data connection and can access the server. However, I'm posting this because I ran across a very odd solution to this error message when those first two failed.

I had a user who could not receive any new emails on her iPhone 5 through an Exchange ActiveSync connection, yet she could send and also had the contacts and calendar working fine. It happened out of nowhere and I was able to replicate the issue on a 2nd iPhone. No other users were reporting issues, and the user's email was working fine in Outlook and OWA. It was very odd.

After doing some extensive troubleshooting I finally tracked down the issue and decided to post it in case anyone else runs across the same problem and is scratching their head. The user had used an emoticon when sending an email, and had two replies to that message in her Inbox. However, that emoticon had gotten corrupted on the receiving end, so when sent back to her in the reply it actually made the messages unreadable on the iPhone and prevented any newer emails from being downloaded as well. As soon as I removed those 2 emails from the Inbox, the iPhone began working correctly again.

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